Home Personal Development The Power (and Limitations) of Self-Belief

The Power (and Limitations) of Self-Belief

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MeIn 1959, a surgeon named Leonard Cobb told a hoax. At the time, the most common procedure for treating chest pain due to heart disease was called an “internal mammary artery ligation,” which is basically the intentional closure of one of the major arteries near the heart, It was meant to promote blood flow. Other arteries are wide open. Patients at the time reported that this helped.

But then they died of a heart attack. Cobb realized this and felt that something was terribly wrong with this procedure. So in 1959 he took a drastic step.

Cobb received approximately 40 patients who complained of chest pain and shortness of breath. Half of them he gave the ligation procedure. I laid the other half down, cut open the chest, sewed it back up immediately, and left it alone. He gave them what is now known as “sham surgery.”

Afterwards, 73% of those who had the ligation reported feeling better. However, 80% of the “sham” group Also reported feeling better.

These results were shocking. Cobb’s famous “sham-surgery” study not only contributed to the success of the ligation procedure, but it also opened people’s eyes to the potential power of the mind. tell someone you had surgery can give people the same results actually operate on them.

In medicine, the placebo effect was well known. It is well documented that about 35% of patients given placebo report feeling better. In fact, the placebo effect was so well understood in medicine that in the 18th century and his 19th century, for the most part, the real medicine had not yet been invented, so giving out fake medicine was almost universal. the doctor was doing.

But Cobb’s sham surgery wasn’t just about prescribing sugar pills and telling people to gargle their urine. I was convincing people that there was…and then No doing.

So-called “sham surgery” is highly controversial, but its effects continue and have been replicated many times. People with herniated discs in their backs report the same thing. 2014 review found that sham surgery was as effective as real surgery in about half of the procedures studied. It’s a mess.

And even crazier: more invasive And the more dangerous the pretend procedure they give you, the more likely you are to believe it worked.

This is the moment in most personal development content that spouts clichés like “believe and it will come true” or “reveal your destiny”. It pains me to think that all I need to do to achieve something is to believe in it.

But there are pitfalls. The placebo effect, the mind’s ability to reveal its own reality, actually looks like this: Limited to some domains, one of which is the perception of pain. Whether it’s a torn meniscus or a migraine, doctors who give fakes seem to do a pretty good job of convincing you that you’re not in pain anymore. In more complex conditions such as depression, the placebo effect seems to disappear almost completely.

In other words, the mind is powerful, but it is not all powerful.

We see belief limitations in other domains as well. People who believe they can do well on tests tend to do better on tests. Or, people who believe they will survive cancer are more likely to survive cancer. But the last time we checked, people who believed they could fly are still stuck on the ground.

The simplest explanation for all this is that there are many psychological feedback loops involving the mind’s expectations and beliefs. You can see the needle stuck in your arm. It hurts because you think it hurts. On the other hand, even if you get stuck with a sharp object while you’re distracted and talking to someone, most of the time you won’t notice until you’re bleeding everywhere.

Pain is largely determined by expectations of emotional pain. Removing expectations can often remove pain. Adding expectations (for example, telling yourself that words are violence) will make you feel pain where you don’t need it.

Our beliefs are part of many systems in our lives. If you believe that people will dislike you, you will be more likely to act in a way that dislikes you, and that belief will be justified. If you believe you can do well on a test, you are more likely to feel motivated and engaged in the test, and you will do better as a result.

It is tempting to put all credit and blame on our beliefs. But our beliefs are just one link in the chain of experiences, not the experience itself.

In the self-help world, we often hear the term “limiting beliefs”. This is a belief that prevents you from achieving the goals and experiences you desire.Well there are limits To Beliefs: The boundaries where our expectations run into reality.

It’s best to be aware of both.

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